The Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team popped into Cornhuskers territory Saturday afternoon when they traveled to Lincoln to face number 12/16 Nebraska in their first Big Ten conference road game. Playing a road game against a ranked team is always a test and Maryland received more than a passing grade routing the Cornhuskers 75-47.
First half - Just what the Huskers ordered
The Terps got off to a slow start in front of a large and partisan Nebraska crowd turning the ball over and missing a three point jumper on their first two possessions while the Cornhuskers scored their first eight points in the paint and had an early 6-1 edge on the boards. Fortunately for Maryland fans, the Terps had Shatori Walker-Kimbrough who made three of her first four shots as the Terrapins trailed 8-6 into the first media timeout.
Part of Maryland's size advantage got neutralized early on when sophomore center Brionna Jones picked up her second foul on an ill-advised attempt to drive the lane from the free throw line just over seven minutes into the first half. The Huskers continued to control the pace and the Terps launched several early threes with only Lexie Brown connecting.
Nebraska's experienced lineup - the Huskers start four seniors and one junior controlled the pace and the Terps seemed intent on helping them out with nine turnovers in the the first 15 minutes. However, Maryland picked up both their defensive intensity holding Nebraska to 6 of 23 shooting and their rebounding. With Walker-Kimbrough burning the nets - she would finish the half with 18 points on eight of nine shooting - the Terps took their first lead on a pair of Laurin Mincy free throws with 4:14 to play. Two offensive rebounds by the Cornhuskers led to a buzzer beating layup and the teams went to the break tied at 27.
Second half - Welcome back to Nebraska, Laurin Mincy
The last time Maryland played in Lincoln, Laurin Mincy suffered a season ending ACL injury. Mincy, the Terps lone senior, returned in full force and got Maryland off to exactly the sort of start they wanted scoring in every way imaginable in the opening minute. After two Terrapins' offensive rebound, Mincy hit her first thre point jumper of the game. She followed that with a fast break layup and added two free throws as the Terps opened the half on a 7-0 run prompting an early timeout by Nebraska head coach Connie Yori. Though the timeout slowed the momentum, Maryland extended the lead at one point to 11 and led by eight at the first media timeout.
As one might anticipate,Walker-Kimbrough cooled off a bit in the second half. The sophomore missed two of her first three shots and finished shooting 10-13 for the game but still finished with a game high 24. Some early Terrapins foul trouble helped keep the Cornhuskers within striking distance - the home team was shooting the bonus with over 11 minutes to play.
If the first half belonged to Walker-Kimbrough, the second belonged to Mincy as Maryland's depth began to wear Nebraska down. After opening the half on a personal 7-0 run, the senior continued to hale Maryland extend the lead first to 15 on an old-fashioned three point play and then to 59-40 on a three point jumper with 7:45 remaining.
The Terps asserted themselves on the glass finishing with a 44-31 edge while getting to every loose ball. Maryland held Nebraska to just 20.7 percent shooting in the second half and 28.1 percent for the game. Mincy backed up Walker-Kimbrough finishing with 22 points and Malina Howard shared the team lead in rebounds with Walker-Kimbrough each pulling down nine.
The Terps move to 11-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Big Ten. They return to the court Thursday night when they host Purdue. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 pm at the Xfinity Center.